This summer, instead of hate-spiraling about your bikini body or lack thereof, why not learn to love your body for all its quirks instead?
Sure, it’s a sentiment we’ve all heard ad infinitum for years, but Maggie Hayes and Cara Griffin are helping us take charge of our bodies with a tactic different than “belly-blasting techniques.”
The artists/yogis present a joint art exhibit, Bodies of Work, as well as a weekend of yoga workshops at Sulfur Studios. Maggie’s, “You Don’t Have to Feel Like Shit,” is Saturday from 1 – 3:30pm and Cara’s, “Nada Yogi,” is Sunday from 3 – 4:30pm. The art will hang in the gallery June 24-28.
Just as the title of Maggie’s workshop suggests, yoga is an excellent way not to feel like shit.
“I know yoga’s not everyone’s bag,” says Maggie, who’s practiced yoga for ten years and taught it for five. “So for the workshop I tried to take out parts that make people turn away. Like, it doesn’t have to be such a spiritual thing.”
Instead, Maggie takes a more practical approach with her workshop. It’s appropriate for all levels and focuses more on specific moves to help you get out of a rough spot, physically or emotionally.
“Ten minutes of little things, like between taking a shower and getting dressed, you’ll feel so much better,” says Maggie. “Once you’ve learned the tricks, it’s much easier to apply them on a case-by-case basis.”
She says the most effective moves for any occasion are heart-opening stretches like Cobra and Upward-Facing Dog.
“They’re so basic, but most people don’t move like that,” notes Maggie.
Both girls notice that a common excuse for people who don’t want to try yoga is that they don’t know what to do or that they’re inflexible.
“But that’s actually a reason to come to yoga,” says Maggie.
Cara’s workshop, Nada Yogi, focuses more on sound and its healing potential. She’s partnered with local musician Jeff Zagers to create a unique soundtrack.
“Sound science has been around forever, but I think now it’s becoming more of a realistic form of study,” Cara muses. “Sound environments affect our internal body. They already are using sounds for different medicines. Western medicine is catching up with what yoga science has told us — we are so much more than just the physical body.”
Going beyond sound as medicine, Cara’s workshop also teaches us to listen to our body and react accordingly to what it tells us.
“I feel like our body speaks to us,” Cara says. “It might be subtle; if you’re sick that’s when you notice it. If you work it hard you’re sore in different areas.”
Both Maggie’s and Cara’s art involve abstractions of the body, but in different ways.
Cara takes her inspiration from 1960s artist Yves Klein, who covered women’s bodies in blue paint and rolled them onto canvases. Like him, she covers her body in paint and transfers it onto canvas and papers, sometimes contorting to further the abstraction.
“I’m kind of inspired by him, actually using our bodies as work,” says Cara. “I really love his artwork, but I feel like his point of view I don’t necessarily agree with. I feel like it was kind of dementing and misogynist to take women and paint them. Mine’s coming from a feminist perspective. We all have a body, and your body is a work of art.”
For her portion, Maggie brings abstract stills from 1970s porn flicks, which sounds like a hilariously bad image but is visually captivating.
“It’s a fun idea to play around with,” she says. “A lot of them are sort of mirrors so you can’t really tell what’s going on.”
The cohesion of the show is certainly aided by two artists who work really, really well together.
“Maggie and I are both really passionate about it, just the idea of liberation that we have everything we need to control how we want to feel,” Cara says.
“We’re both great to work on a collaboration together because we have our own specific ideas. We’re like, ‘Cool, love what you’re doing.’ It’s been super chill.”